In this edition of Different By Design, we thought that we would give you a behind the scenes view of Olympia Tile’s Slab Division Warehouse in Toronto.

Often when selecting stone slabs for counter tops or fireplaces etc. a developer, designer or contractor will opt to personally select the slabs themselves. This is particularly useful if you are selecting a more specialized or rare stone that naturally has a lot of variation and veining in it as you will see in the following examples.

Olympia is the largest supplier of these slabs in Canada and they come from quarries from all over the world. In addition to the more common marble and granites that we see in our kitchens and bathrooms, there are many rare stones that are also available.

Typically, these stone slabs are cut at 3/4″ or 1 1/4″ thicknesses and come in a variety of finishes such as polished, honed and leathered. There is a huge array of colours, pattern, texture and veining in every piece of stone. This is a result of 1) where in the world the stone comes from, and 2) what mix of minerals and organic materials were naturally combined in the earth over thousands of years.

As you can see in the above examples, there is an endless variety of colours and patterns in these beautiful stones, and this is only scratching at the surface!

With move-ins now commencing at The Yorkdale Condominiums II, the lobby and amenities are starting to take shape. Completing the spaces are a series of commissioned photographs by Toronto photographer Octavia Riley. Here is a sneak peak….

Inspired by the architecture of the new community, the large black and white photographs feature glimpses of the surrounding area and reference the transition from old to new.

We asked Octavia to share with us what her inspiration was for the series of photographs: “Buildings are not immortal. However, our cherished memories live on forever within us. As we move forward with the revitalization of our community, we should first acknowledge the significance of it’s stories. What I hope to convey through these photos is the beginning of a new chapter; one that integrates new and different perspectives.”

“As we peer through the metal structures that serve as cornerstones of our new community, we must do our best to remember the origins of the soil on which it was built so it may be woven into the fabrics of our new community.”

Our thanks to Octavia for working with us on this exciting project. Once the photographs are framed and installed in the lobby and amenities, we will post some pictures. For more on Octavia, you can visit her instagram at https://www.instagram.com/octaviology/

In this edition of Different By Design, we look at St. Lawrence Market North. Designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, the winning design was awarded all the way back in 2010! Finally rising above grade is the steel structure that will make up the southern facade of the dramatically vaulted companion building to Toronto’s famed St. Lawrence Market (South).

The new design replaces the original building that was built in 1968 and will house the Farmer’s market, Municipal Courtrooms, office space and a parking garage.

The new building is sensitively located between St. Lawrence Market to the south and St. Lawrence Hall to the north and the interior will feature a stunningly framed view of St. Lawrence Hall’s northern facade and its cupola and dome.

Scheduled for completion and re-opening in Spring of 2022, we cannot wait to visit the Farmer’s market and enjoy these beautiful spaces!

For more information on St. Lawrence Market North, visit the architect’s website at https://www.rsh-p.com/projects/st-lawrence-market-north/ and the City of Toronto’s page at https://www.toronto.ca/services-payments/venues-facilities-bookings/booking-city-facilities/st-lawrence-market/north-st-lawrence-market-redevelopment/

Introducing The Townhouse Collection at Queen & Ashbridge! The Townhouse Collection is a luxurious new series of two-storey townhouse suites at Queen & Ashbridge. Featuring direct outdoor access, state-of-the-art Miele appliances and picture perfect terraces with natural gas connections, these unique offerings epitomize the absolute best of modern downtown living. Expansive 9′ ceilings set the stage for a lush urban-inspired environment, embellished with a host of top-of-the-line features and finishes, only in the Townhouse Collection.

There are only 3 Townhouses available in the collection so don’t miss out! Contact one of our sales staff before it is too late! www.qacondos.com

Summer is finally here and the best way to enjoy it is by spending some time in the great outdoors! At Queen & Ashbridge there is no shortage of outdoor space to relax in. Whether it is on your terrace at home or on the roof deck of the Sky Club – Queen & Ashbridge has it all on offer.

In addition to the Terraces and The Sky Club, Queen & Ashbridge also features a roof top dog run and a lush central courtyard known as The Urban Forest.

The Urban Forest brings a little bit of the country to the city. Featuring lush lanscapong and tall trees, a water feature, a fire pit, and no shortage of muskoka chairs to kick back and relax in, The Urban Forest is the perfect outdoor space that is reserved exclusively for Queen & Ashbridge residents.

In addition to the great outdoor areas inside Queen & Ashbridge, head outside the building itself and check out Toronto’s newest retail block or head south on the boardwalk path as Toronto’s waterfront is only steps away from your front door!

For more information visit www.qacondos.com

Downtown condos that look and feel like the cottage

Amid booming vacation-property sales, developers are finding ways to make urban condos feel like getaways by the lake

Adam Bisby, Special to National Post Publishing date:May 05, 2021

Residents of the Queen & Ashbridge Condos won’t have to brave a packed Ontario highway if it’s cottage-country vibes they’re after.

Slated for completion in 2024, the 17-storey Leslieville project by Context Development and Riocan Living will be home to a central courtyard dubbed the Urban Forest, surrounded by a Cottage Collection of one- and two-bedroom suites. “As COVID began to take effect, and as more people started talking about getting away, we pivoted to bring a little Muskoka to the big city,” Context principal Howard Cohen explains.

That woodsy aesthetic will extend to the 103 Cottage Collection suites surrounding the Urban Forest, which according to Cohen are 95 percent sold. Designed by Toronto’s Mason Studios, they include an upgrade package featuring custom millwork and electric fireplaces and wood-inspired tile feature walls.

“Combine that [aesthetic] with all the nearby recreational opportunities at Ashbridges Bay [and] Woodbine Park,” says Cohen, “and this is a great option for people who love the outdoorsy cottage lifestyle and want to keep it going even when they’re in the city.”

As rising prices and bidding wars in cottage country put vacation properties out of many buyers’ reach, it isn’t surprising that developers are importing a dockside atmosphere to urban sites. While average GTA housing prices in March jumped 16.5 percent year-over-year, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association, those increases were even higher in cottage country: 33.3 percent in Grey Bruce Owen Sound, 42.2 percent in the Lakelands region comprising Muskoka, Halliburton, Parry Sound and Orillia, and a whopping 44.9 percent in Kawartha Lakes.

Among urban properties, those “where you can walk or bike down to a beach or lakefront park are really in high demand,” says RE/MAX Realtron general manager and broker Cameron Forbes. “COVID-19 has really reinforced a live-at-home, work-at-home, play-at-home mentality, so we are definitely selling more properties that are closer to the water, green spaces, golf courses and things that people can do with their families in a safe way.”

Click here for the full article: https://nationalpost.com/life/homes/downtown-condos-that-look-and-feel-like-the-cottage

April Showers bring May flowers and May brings us The Loft Collection at Queen Ashbridge! Inspired by the urban fabric of Queen Street, The Loft Collection is a limited time release of new open concept loft plans.

As a special promotion, The Loft Collection features one year property tax-free and free maintenance as well as an Urban Finish Upgrade package worth $20,000. Features include exposed concrete ceilings, chimney style hoods, floating shelves, custom millwork and tiled feature walls.

The Loft Collection promotion is only here for the month of May so don’t hesitate to contact our sales team for more information on Queen Street’s coolest new digs. https://qacondos.com/

Don’t miss this opportunity to be able to purchase a new town home in the New Lawrence Heights! The town homes feature up to 2700 square feet of total living space, 4 bedrooms, the latest appliances and finishes and luxurious kitchens and baths.

There are only a select few town homes still available in Toronto’s most dynamic new community.

Enjoy a truly striking collection of innovative new home designs surrounded by the best North Toronto has to offer. Live moments from world-renowned Yorkdale Shopping Centre, celebrated public & private schools, lush parks & greenspaces and luxurious lifestyle amenities. What’s more, enjoy convenient access to the future LRT, GO Transit, Yorkdale & Lawrence West Subway Stations, the Allen Expressway and highways 400, 401 & 407.

Visit http://newlawrenceheights.ca/ for more information!

The Cottage Collection at Queen & Ashbridge Condominiums is the newest release at Toronto’s hottest selling Condominium. The Cottage Collection overlooks The Urban Forest: Queen & Ashbridge’s Muskoka inspired courtyard and is a exclusive collection of 1 and 2 bedroom suites.

For a limited time only (until April 11, 2021), The Cottage Collection release features: 2 Years Free Maintenance, 2 Years Free Property Tax, Free Assignment, Capped Development Charges and an Upgrade Package of Finishes worth $20,000.00.

The Upgrade Package of Finishes includes: custom wood millwork and electric fireplaces in the living rooms, custom wood-Inspired feature walls in the main bedroom and wood-inspired tile feature walls in the ensuites.

For more information, go to https://qacondos.com/ or contact the condo presentation gallery today!

The Urban Forest
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At the heart of Queen & Ashbridge Condominiums, is the The Urban Forest. Designed by landscape architect Liz Wreford of Public City Architecture, The Urban Forest brings a little Muskoka to the big city and occupies Queen & Ashbridge’s central courtyard.

Inspired by the landscape of Northern Ontario, The Urban Forest includes a sloped stone sun deck (the shore or the beach), wood boardwalks, a fire pit (the cove), a raised deck (the dock) overlooking a reflecting pool (the lake), a mixed coniferous/deciduous forest with rolling forest floor (the forest) and gravel paths through the forest.

Tall poles in the deck make reference to sail boat masts and the elements are tied together with a colourful ribbon of steel, creating many seating opportunities along the forest edge and around the sunken fire pit. Uplighting around the reflecting pool and in the forest understory creates a dynamic night environment. The forest is a mix of pine, fir and birch with native understory plants.

Those lucky enough to have a suite facing into The Urban Forest will be ensconced in nature year round and enjoy a little slice of cottage living from their balcony. Stay tuned for our next blog post where we feature The Cottage Collection – a new release of suites that overlook The Urban Forest!